OVPN is a relatively new player in the commercial VPN space. In a short time, it has managed to build a reputation as one of the more privacy-preserving VPN providers. But does it live up to the hype? Does OVPN offer anything that other providers don’t? Is OVPN any better than well-known VPN providers such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and PIA?
For my OVPN review, I wanted to see if their privacy practices were really better than most. I also wanted to answer questions like:
- Does OVPN offer decent speeds?
- Does OVPN work with streaming sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video?
- Does OVPN work in China?
- Is it better than its competitors?
In testing OVPN’s service, I used the VPN at home on my computer and while out and about on mobile. I tested gaming and streaming over OVPN’s network. I also put it through a series of tests to get a sense of its speed and its security and privacy practices. My thoughts are summarized below.
OVPN is a relatively new Sweden-based VPN provider that puts user privacy above everything else. OVPN provides you with a shared IP address, which is better for privacy. They also offer a dedicated IPv4 address as an add-on, which can be useful if you’re hosting servers on your network and want to protect your server’s traffic from ISP snooping. OVPN doesn’t require an email address to sign-up and accepts bitcoin and cash for anonymous payments. It also owns its servers, which run from RAM (nothing is written to disc). Everything about OVPN is designed for maximum privacy. If you’re a privacy-minded VPN user, I think you’ll really appreciate OVPN.
OVPN Key Data
|OVERALL RANK: #25 of 43 VPNs|
|Average Speed*:||61.3 Mbps|
|Video Streaming Support:||4K UHD|
|Other Streaming Services:||Hulu, ITVHub, Amazon Prime Video|
|Log Policy:||Zero logs|
|Value for Money||
|Lowest Monthly Cost:||$4.99|
|Money Back Guarantee:||10 days|
OVPN pros and cons
- Good speeds
- Only support secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN & WireGuard)
- Fair prices
- Unblocks streaming sites
- Zero logging
- No email required during sign-up
- Accepts anonymous cash payments
- Smaller network than larger VPN providers
- Multihop is a paid add-on
- No official iOS app (yet)
- Only supports three Netflix libraries
- Doesn’t work in China
Speed: Is OVPN fast?
I would describe OVPN’s speed as being quite good, although it does fall short of the fastest VPNs. There is a slowdown (which is inevitable), but it’s not major, as long as you connect to a server that’s not too far from your actual physical location. The performance is good and you won’t feel it in your day-to-day unless you happen to have a 100+ Mbps connection.
I tested OVPN’s speed over servers in North America, Europe, and Asia. Below are the average speed results globally, and for the servers in each region:
- Global: 61.3 Mbps
- North America (where I’m located): 88 Mbps
- Asia: 33 Mbps
- Europe: 63 Mbps
OVPN supports only OpenVPN and WireGuard. The tests were performed over OpenVPN – the only supported protocol in its desktop apps.
OVPN also supports many different routers. As such, I was able to set up a client connection to OVPN on my pfSense box and connect my PS4.
Gaming over OVPN was smooth. I had no lagging, freeze-ups or disconnects on any of the three games I tested. This applies to servers that were near my actual physical location, which is what you should do when gaming, as ping times are critical to a smooth experience in online gaming.
See also: Best VPN for online gaming
OVPN’s network offers 83 servers in 26 locations. That’s significantly less than most. But remember, OVPN is new. They also own all of their servers and all of their servers run from RAM (volatile memory) – that means that nothing is ever written to disc. This is very good for user privacy.
Apps: What devices work with OVPN?
OVPN supports more device types than most other VPN providers. OVPN supports:
- Raspberry Pi
Phones & Tablets
- iOS (no dedicated iOS app yet, uses the openVPN Connect app and the official WireGuard client)
It’s nice to see a VPN provider supporting so many different routers. Setting up a VPN client on your router gives you the benefit of connecting as many devices as you wish to the VPN server, regardless of the limit the provider places on simultaneous connections. This is particularly welcome with OVPN, as it only allows up to four simultaneous connections. That’s less than most.
You can also purchase a pre-configured Vilfo VPN router for OVPN.
OVPN also supports NAS devices. This is a manual connection configured through the GUI of each device (no native app). You can use the configuration generator to make things easier. OVPN provides detailed instructions on how to set up a client OpenVPN connection on each of the supported devices:
- TrueNAS (formerly FreeNAS)
OVPN supports a lot of platforms. Still not enough for you? Well, they also provide browser extensions for Chrome. Firefox, Vivaldi, and coming soon: Opera.
OVPN’s desktop apps only support OpenVPN. You can still connect your laptop or desktop to OVPN via WireGuard, but you’ll need to download the official WireGuard client for that.
OVPN provides a handy configuration downloader from your account page on OVPN’s website. You simply generate your keys, select the country, city, and server you want to connect to and then you can download a working WireGuard configuration file to set up your connection in the WireGuard client.
Does this work? Yes, it does. Could it overwhelm greener users? Yes, it could. I think OVPN should support both OpenVPN and WireGuard within its client app. I have a hunch that’s the direction they’re taking, but only time will tell.
The OVPN Android client only supports WireGuard. Again, you can still connect to OVPN on mobile over OpenVPN, but you’ll need a third-party OpenVPN client app for that. As with WireGuard, OVPN also provides an OpenVPN configuration downloader to use with third-party clients.
There’s no iOS app at this time but it’s in the works. We can expect it to only support WireGuard, like its Android counterpart.
The app design is quite simple but I think that’s a good thing. Apps that drown users in options can be off-putting, especially to new users.
OVPN’s desktop client only has four menus:
- Connection: Select your server and connect/disconnect.
- Statistics: Displays upload and download statistics on your connection.
- Support: Allows you to email OVPN’s customer support.
- Settings: Customize your settings.
Nothing too overwhelming here, which is welcome.
The OVPN client also has the Best Server feature, which is now fairly common. From the app’s main menu, you can either manually select the server of your choice. Or you can have the app select the best server (presumably the server with the lowest load and ping times) for each country, or from the entire list of available servers.
See also: Best VPNs with WireGuard in 2021
OVPN browser extensions
OVPN’s browser extensions do a few things.
For one, they block ads. That’s a good way to preserve some of your privacy and also makes websites less obnoxious as you browse them. However, I would have liked to see the ad-blocking feature integrated into the VPN client, without requiring a browser extension. That way users could benefit from OVPN’s ad blocking system-wide (not just in the web browser) and also on mobile. My two cents.
The browser extensions also allow you to block access to certain sites (which you define) unless you’re connected to OVPN. That means that if you forget to enable the VPN before starting a browsing session, you won’t shoot yourself in the foot.
The extensions also block WebRTC leaks and can purge your browser cookies and local storage.
All in all, not bad. But to be honest, I never understood why VPN providers would build separate functionality into browser extensions rather than building the functionality into the VPN client itself. It’s feasible – other providers do it.
OVPN offers three subscription terms: monthly, semi-yearly, and yearly. The yearly plan provides the biggest discount, as expected.
- 1 month: $11.00
- 6 months: $41.94 / $6.99 per month
- 12 months: $59.88 / $4.99 per month
These prices are moderately high, but still within the realm of what’s reasonable. However, if we start comparing the supported features between OVPN and some of its cheaper competitors (NordVPN & PIA, for example), then the prices seem a bit steep. Perhaps the prices will go down once OVPN is a more established player in the industry.
Each subscription comes with a 10-day money-back guarantee. Most providers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. So there’s an opportunity for improvement on that front.
Streaming and Netflix
OVPN explicitly supports Netflix in three geographical regions:
To get these to work, you first need to enable streaming services in your account settings page on OVPN’s website, or via the client app’s settings.
Three libraries isn’t a lot. But OVPN is committed to keeping these Netflix libraries accessible over its network. In my tests, all three locations worked and the streaming experience was smooth.
I was also able to access Hulu (surprisingly) on my computer, as well as Amazon Prime Video and ITVHub. But I wasn’t able to access Disney+, 4All, or BBC iPlayer. So streaming is pretty much hit and miss with OVPN, aside from the three Netflix libraries that it promotes.
There are, however, VPN providers that manage to support more streaming services and libraries more consistently than OVPN. I’d say that if accessing streaming sites over VPN is important to you, perhaps OVPN isn’t your best choice.
See also: Best VPNs for Netflix
Does OVPN allow torrenting?
Absolutely. And on all of its servers. No settings to activate, no hunting for a dedicated server. Just connect to OVPN, launch your torrent client, and go.
In my tests, torrenting was fast and consistent. OVPN’s kill switch will block any traffic from going out if the connection drops. With OVPN, your P2P traffic is always encrypted and your IP address is always hidden so long as you don’t disable the kill switch (it’s enabled by default).
See also: Best VPNs for Torrenting
Does OVPN support Split Tunneling?
OVPN does not support split tunneling at this time.
Split tunneling is a feature that is growing in popularity with VPN providers. It enables you to choose which traffic is sent through the VPN and which traffic uses your default ISP connection. So you could, for example, send your P2P traffic through the VPN while sending the rest of your traffic out via your ISP connection. Or you could send everything through the VPN, except your Netflix traffic. Split tunneling is quite flexible and can accommodate essentially any scenario.
See also: Best VPNs for split tunneling
Security, privacy, and logging
The company doesn’t log your IP address, your MAC address, your internet traffic, your DNS requests, any connection/disconnection timestamps, or any used bandwidth.
They obtained an IP address allegedly belonging to The Pirate Bay from Cloudflare. They then turned to The Pirate Bay’s ISP, Obenetwork, demanding that it hand over the information. It turns out, however, that the IP address actually belonged to OVPN. As mentioned above, OVPN provides static IPv4 addresses to users hosting servers, as an add-on that can be paid for anonymously, keeping the user of the IP address anonymous as well.
The film companies and Rights Alliance then turned to OVPN and tried to compel it to disclose the identity of the party using the IP address in question. Nonetheless, the court ruled in favor of OVPN and its no-logging claims. OVPN could not be forced to hand over information it didn’t have and there was no evidence found to contradict that claim.
Here’s what David Wibergh, the founder and CEO of OVPN, had to say on the matter:
Rights Alliance and their security experts have not been able to prove any weaknesses in OVPN’s systems that could mean that logs are stored. OVPN therefore wins the information injunction as our statements and evidence regarding our no-log VPN policy have not been disproven. OVPN is one of very few VPN providers that have had their no logs claims proven in court. OVPN is the only Swedish VPN provider that has proven that no logs are stored.
OVPN can not provide any activity information or logs about users if a court order was issued asking us to provide that information. As previously mentioned, no information about what our users do when connected is stored. The only information we would be able to provide would be account information detailed further below as well as the method of payment. However, it requires that the court order is for a specific person and that the authorities want to verify if that person has a user account with us. We have not provided any information about our users to any government entities.
OVPN also provides a transparency report on a monthly basis. Transparency reports list the number of data requests the company has received along with the number of times it provided the requested information and the number of times it refused to do so (Hint: OVPN never handed out any information on any of its users). OVPN lists all this in its transparency reports, but also takes things further by providing traffic and uptime statistics for each of their servers as well.
You can access OVPN’s transparency reports from here.
In terms of the encryption used by OVPN, it’s the strong version of the industry-standard. Here are the encryption specifics for OpenVPN and WireGuard:
OVPN operates its own in-tunnel, no-logging DNS servers. Using OVPN’s client apps, there is no way to change that. It is, however, the most secure option for DNS.
In my tests, OVPN did not leak any information. No IP leaks, no DNS leaks, no WebRTC leaks.
IP address without OVPN
IP address with OVPN
DNS without OVPN
DNS with OVPN
Does OVPN work in China?
This is always a hard one to answer, because I’m not in China. So I trolled through OVPN’s website, but I wasn’t able to find any information. Reading other OVPN reviews online, I found a mixed bag. Some claimed that it worked while others claimed the opposite.
So I think it’s better to assume that OVPN does not work in China. If a company doesn’t mention a feature in its marketing, odds are it’s not supported.
How good is OVPN’s customer support?
There are two ways of getting in touch with OVPN’s customer support: email and chat. I’ve used the chat in the past. It’s not 24 hours, but as long as someone from support is online (there’s a rather large time difference between Canada and Sweden) responses are prompt and courteous. The live chat uses Intercom. If you’d rather not go through a third-party messenger, you can use email instead.
There is also a well-thought-out Support page (called FAQ) on the OVPN website that does a good job at answering typical questions users may have.
Do I recommend OVPN?
After playing with OVPN for a few days myself, would I recommend it to friends?
Absolutely. OVPN is an excellent choice especially for the more privacy-minded users out there. OVPN’s commitment to privacy is one of the strongest I’ve seen. It’s fast, it only supports secure protocols, it works with a wide range of devices and its privacy claims have been tested in court. That’s hard to beat on the privacy front.
However, there’s no iPhone app yet – which is a big hole. And streaming support isn’t up to par when compared with NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or Surfshark, which also provide more features than OVPN.
But OVPN is quite new and I’ve been following them for a little while now. What I’ve seen so far is a small, privacy-focused VPN provider slowly growing in the right direction. The iOS app is coming, as are more features.
When the small guy is a good guy, he deserves to grow. If you’re a privacy-focused VPN user, give OVPN a try. You won’t regret it and your experience will only get better.
Surfshark is another provider to look at. It’s the cheapest VPN service I’ve seen, with subscriptions for as little as $2.21/month. Surfashark has a strict no-logging policy, only supports secure protocols, works with streaming services, and works in China. Plus, Surfshark allows an unlimited number of simultaneous connections.
How does OVPN compare to other VPNs?
Here’s a table comparing OVPN to two extremely popular and highly rated VPN providers, NordVPN and Surfshark.
|Average Speed||115 Mbps||71 Mbps||61.3 Mbps|
|Encryption typeType of encryption e.g. 256 AES||256-bit AES||256-bit AES||AES-256-GCM|
|Records identifying logs|
|Unblocks Netflix US|
|Unblocks Amazon Prime|
|Unblocks BBC iPlayer|
|Lowest cost per month||$3.30 per month||$2.49 per month||$4.99 per month|
|Money back guarantee||30 days||30 days||10 days|